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  1. Skip report; go straight to slideshow Anyone who has been multi-day tripping with me knows well that I will try to squeeze every available minute out of the day(s), and this river and inland sea safari would be no different. The original plan called for me to meet Mari after she finished her Baxter SP hiking, but a rainy weekend had us flip-flopping the itinerary. We drove up on Sunday in the cold and wet, with my intention to treat her to an original Pat’s Pizza in Orono, but we were happy to settle for Pat’s in Yarmouth for lunch; we would savor juicy Amato’s Italians for supper! Pops was not happy with the already-been-changed Big Moose Inn/Campground reservation for a lean-to on this cold, damp, night. Luckily, an upgrade to a cozy cabin was available, and we flipped on the heat straight away. As would be the habit for the next several days, we were up at Dawn’s crack, for the long day that included a car spot at the finish line, an arduous, 2-hour drive on the Golden Road, pack and launch, and finding a suitable campsite. We were expecting to find competition on this warm mid-to-late June day, and not a little surprised to find the primo Ogden South site on Lobster Lake unoccupied. (Even more surprising was that we came across only one out of 23 river- or lake-side sites occupied during the entire trip). Having most of the day in front of us, we savored another round of Amato’s, arranged sleeping quarters, and paddled a good bit of the lake south of the point-a very stress-free day. Mari cobbled up a wonderful meal with her new cast iron skillet, over the wind protected fire ring: sautéed peppers, mushrooms, onions, and summer squash, combined with delicious mushroom ravioli. The sun lingered, but went to bed, followed by the awakening of the magical star show over the quieting waters. The cold night brought a blanket of morning fog, and I would be navigationally challenged yet again (last trip, 11 years ago HERE). At length, we located the sharply-angled Lobster stream portal to the lake and paddled onward to start our early morning entry into the Upper West Branch of the Penobscot river, accented by this dining moose; we would see two others on the trip. We would spend our lazy second day meandering down this most scenic Riverway, occasionally boosted with a 2kn current. Like a siren‘s song, we were drawn into Big Raggmuff stream, and her noisy, cascading falls, where we dunked into the amber-stained pureness, and later, warmed up by the veggie egg sandwich and sun at the adjacent site’s picnic table. We talked about the possibility of spending the night on the river; I had my sets site on Gero island, where I had spent a few nights many years ago in a lean-to. We compromised by settling into Pine Stream, the last riverside site, and a short distance from the Big Lake, and an easy jumping off (?In) point for the next day. The classic Maine campsite setup with picnic table and overhead ridgepole (tarp support) was a sentinel to this site, easily seen from ~1 mile away. Many of the lakes in northern Maine (Umbagog, Richardson, Moosehead, Chesuncook), given their orientation, are prone to dangerous conditions, with even light winds resulting in challenging waves from the miles-long fetches. We were on the water by six on day #3 and, regrettably, we were “welcomed“ to Chesuncook an hour later, with a light southerly breeze. We knew we were “in for it,” and began the long, 8 mile slog to our next stopping point on Sandy Point. Our strategy was point-to-point, taking advantage of any available lee from the wind and waves. At Cunningham Brook campsite we would encounter the only people shoreside-four men, two canoes, and two large, wind-battered tents. Without a breakfast invitation, we soldiered on, and, by degrees, nestled into Sandy Point’s broad, flat lee. Mar quickly gathered fuel for a fire and spit-spot assembled a gastronomic delight-open faced egg sandwich with avocado, hummus, sautéed onions and mushrooms, and goat cheese, all atop a slab of dense, homemade, multi-grain bread. A refreshing postprandial nap necessarily ensued, and we spent much of the day drying our gear, playing cribbage, and mostly, fretting about the consistent wind. As anyone in the position of leader/parent/more experienced knows, there comes a time when one has to either “poop, or get off the pot,“ and by 7 PM, it was that time. Camp in place, and risk an unabated wind, leaving an 8-mile paddle to the car/landing tomorrow, OR, determine that the wind had lessened enough to make slow steady progress to the next campsite, a six-mile trek, with nightfall approaching? The leader/parent, after weighing all the risks, decided to get off the pot, on the water, and trust his steadfast, yet-unnamed Mad River Explorer 17, to carry them through the quieter wind, but persistent, dead-ahead waves, to the safety of the next–closest campsite on Caribou Point, across the lake. Off we go, with one last stop at “bird turd islet” for rest and pee break, before making the crossing in diminishing light, on this longest day of the year. They only aids to navigation that we relied upon were the light spot (?house, ?big rock) across the lake, and the dark shadow of the shoreline near our intended destination. Over miles of lake, no lights were to be seen, save for the reliable stars overhead and on the horizon, the latter twinkling magically through the denser atmosphere. Upon reaching close to the shoreline, we paddled in an easterly direction, anticipating the campsite near the corner of the peninsula, before heading southerly. GAIA was at the ready, with Google Maps as a back up. Luckily, with high magnification, both Gaia and Google maps featured the detailed shoreline that brought us spot-on to Cardiser Point at 11 PM, after the 4-hour travail. The last, and 4th day of our river/lake trip was upon us, and we were quietly visited by a curious deer, meandering about our campsite. We had slept late ‘til about 6 o’clock, in no hurry to depart, and made our way to the opposite, easterly shoreline in the still-southerly breeze. On to the landing at the Museum (closed) and Ranger Station (nobody home), unload gear, wash/rinse boat, and store everything out of the way. We started the long drive to pick up my car at the launch. Not much memorable to say, except that Mar’s Prius was successful driving on the Golden Road. We creeped along the Northeast Carry Road, with numerous potholes and an occasional full-width puddle. After a long drive back to the landing, we lunched on the porch of the museum, watching the ever-stronger winds, then enjoyed a postprandial nap on the closely trimmed lawn. A quick stroll to see the moonscaped skeleton of Ripogenus Gorge, nearly lifeless following construction of the dam that raised the water level 40 feet, backed up for 25 miles. Back on the road to our stay at Big Eddy Campground, a lovely spot, where fishers, as if in a carnival ride, were either paddling, drifting, or anchored in these oddly-shaped boats, apparently enjoying themselves, despite any evidence of fishing success. We bathed in the chily eddy, the 2kn current pushing us upstream. We retired in the POC #1 cabin-double bunk for me, overhead single empty, and Mari on the unpadded porch floor, of course! Most of Day#5 was spent on the Lower West Branch, launching from the power generating station in a raft provided by Northern Outdoors. Absolute bliss, except to say that some old man in a ?drysuit (claimed to be a sea kayaker) was tossed from his overturned raft in a Class V rapid, and rescued a furlong downstream, unharmed. Side note: Always eager to determine if/how we are connected, I generally probe people about their background. As it turns out, our rafting Guide is the daughter of a woman who was a friend in my high school class! We had a good chat about Casco Bay, where she has sea kayak guided in the past. What is her favorite island? Jewell, of course! I was sad to leave Margreta after supper that day, but also eager to get back to Susie and the kitties, then take a load off (I had pushed my luck to the brink!). Mar would spend the night at Big Moose Campground, and complete a solo, CCW loop of Katahdin that included Hamlin and Baxter peaks, on yet another glorious day. REFLECTIONS: -If you incorporate plans to paddle a big lake like Chesuncook on a CANOE trip, be aware of the inherent dangers, and consider alternate plans that may include a layover day or 2, and nav skills that might allow a night paddle, in the right conditions. -Mossies and black flies are around in great numbers, dawn and dusk. Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts, and a cheapo, not vintage, head net. -Consider bringing a smallish cooler-ours lasted a full 3 days with a frozen 6L dromedary inside. -Strive to be on the water early, which leaves you time to “chill” (by the fire) at the end of the day. -Shuttle service is tough to secure. Only 1 outfitter was willing to provide a 2-part, person/gear-only shuttle from Greenville, quoted @ $415. Additional fees for any trip include road entry/access to North Maine Woods, and camping. -I can’t recommend the best time to visit this beautiful region, but can say I’ve had supreme luck before July, after Labor Day. -Don’t rely on the NFCT Map #11 for detailed navigation. The “North” symbol, askew, if assumed magnetic, is off by 10°, westerly; the declination here is 16° W, not 15° (on map). Also, no Lat/Long reference marks! I’m going to blame the map for my screw-up on Lobster Lake! -Overview of our paddling/rafting/climbing area:
  2. Skip report; go straight to slideshow: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DWefUCj1CrTgHUg98 Despite waiting for the start of this trip for three years, the ominous forecast for our start day would delay us yet one more day. Our September, 2019 plans were thwarted by low water levels in the lower third of the river; we wanted to do a complete through-paddle. Eight months later, COVID travel restrictions prevented us from going. This, our third attempt, was shaping up to be the real deal, as we would paddle in early May, hoping to avoid the emerging blackflies, predicted to swarm after Memorial Day. The water levels were seasonably low in the second year of a drought, but more than adequate (2250-1650 cfs) for a through-paddle. We were not keen on challenging the forces of 10-mile-long Chamberlain lake and its potential prevailing NW winds, so we took a more scenic route, starting at Johnson Pond. After staging our vehicle in Allagash, we were shuttled southerly along muddy logging roads, witnesses to grouse, bear cub, moose, and loggers’ landscape rape along the 4.5-hour journey. Day 1: Despite the remote location, six paddlers (two parties) were finishing their trips as we were launching near noon. We were not a little anxious starting the trip, with the possibility of showers, and temps in the 40’s. The narrow outlet stream (?brook) was barely passable, but connected to east-flowing Allagash Stream that quickly floated us into Allagash Lake. Surprisingly, both northern sites were occupied, and we meandered along the western shore, stopping at “Ice Caves” campsite for lunch and spelunk. We set up camp at the next “Cove” site, a lovely spot sheltered from the wind, facing easterly. Squeezing every minute out of the day, we paddled south to the ranger station, eager to hike to the recently-installed fire tower hut, checking the views of the surrounding lakes and rivers, and south to Katahdin. We chatted up the ranger, who had arrived two days prior, and learned that his position was his as long as he wanted it! He shared some pointers/warnings of the paddle down Allagash Stream, which we would later heed. Back 3 miles to the campsite, dinner, and nestled into our cozy lakeside tents, serenaded by the loons. Track of Day 1 paddle: Day 2: Up early, with a little frost on the pumpkin, gear packed, overnight oatmeal, and off to a blue-sky day and a quiet paddle across Allagash Lake to the outlet, Allagash Stream (continued). The first 100 yards of the rapidly-flowing stream halted us as we pondered our strategy through the maze. We gathered our courage and proceeded, happy to find that there was relatively smooth “sailing” thereafter, including this spotting of Cowinkle the moose just before arriving at Little Round Pond. Little Allagash Falls requires a short portage around a sweet campsite, and onward we paddled, keenly aware of the two ledge drops we were warned about. The first allowed an escape route if one was quick enough to recognize it, and we were, just barely, as l sprang from the bow seat, grabbed the canoe, and dragged it to the right-hand bank, first scouting, then easing the loaded canoe down the chute to the right. Though we could have lined the canoe over the second drop, our blood was up, and we plunged over the ledge, shipping a bathtub amount of water on board, which we quickly released by tipping the fully-loaded tough canoe on its side at the riverbank. We had a great time gaining experience navigating the rapid stream to its termination at Chamberlain Lake ( https://youtu.be/YC6P6SN8Yho ). Paddling past the deteriorating train trestle, we took advantage of the NW prevailing wind (we would be fighting it paddling the popular route from Chamberlain Bridge) to guide us to Lock Dam, and another short portage. A quick lunch of PB&J and X-bean salad fueled us for the quick paddle down Martin stream, into Eagle Lake. We took refuge from threatening clouds at “Windy Point” before paddling northward towards “Pillsbury island” site, which was occupied. We continued paddling up the western shore of the island to “Thoreau,” one of the cells clearly occupied by a man and his dog. Luckily, the southern-most site, sunny and grassy, was free, and we accepted the tacit invitation. A sudden squall with steep waves had us dashing for the tarp, and it petered out anon. Day 3: Refining our routine, we were on the water by 6:30, our sights fixed on the locomotives at the tramway site. A surreal sight, two massive hulks of extreme horsepower, monuments to a logging industry long gone, but not forgotten. We continued on our calm paddle to the “Pump Handle,” occupied by a fishing foursome, family and friends who have been coming to this location since 1975! We stretched our legs on the short hike to the Lookout (southerly), returned to our boat, and made our way to the eastern shore with the building wind and waves. A ranger motored by and inquired as to our destination for that night, to which we replied “Scofield Point.” He warned of gusts to 20 and advised keeping close to shore, as we had planned. A quick stop at “Zeigler” revealed an unreliable spring, and onward we paddled, stopping at a rocky islet on yet another Round Pond for standard-fare lunch, before ending the day early afternoon at Scofield Point on Churchill Lake. We had our choice of three empty cells, and quickly set up our sleeping quarters, gathered firewood, and commenced to select our options for tonight‘s dinner from the pantry. We gathered our supper, camp chairs, and cribbage, and headed out to the gravel point, looking forward to total relaxation, and warmth from the falling sun. Before turning in, we would enjoy N’s nightly specialty of cheese quesadillas on the open campfire, ?serenaded by the cacophony of loons, geese, and peepers. Day 3 track: Day 4: Up early for the 4-mile paddle to Churchill Dam to catch the early release, first visiting the museum, water resupply at the field hand-pump, and a safety chat from the young ranger. A sawbuck secured transport of our gear 5 miles downstream to Bissonette bridge, relieving any anxiety from the easily-navigable class II rapids. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLy0cucf7k0) Still early in the day, we mosied along Umsaskis Lake, and kept our eyes peeled for any upcoming sites. A bald eagle launching from “Grey Brook” was an omen, and we settled in nicely to the routine: pitch tents/tarp, meals, “bath“, and a cribbage game to remember. N had already completed the outside row while I was still pegged to holes four and five. Wanting to give up, we decided to play it out anyway, and in the homestretch, I made up the difference with a run of 24 points (2 fours, a five, and 2 sixes), eking out a come-from-behind victory. Track of Day 4: Day 5: Our routine was now automatic, and we savored the early morning tranquility of Long Lake. IMGP0106.MOV A portage around Long Lake Dam was quick, and we were back to the swift river before entering Round Pond, our sights on the hike to the tower, a five–mile jaunt. As the wind was rising, and potential thunderstorms were forecast, we decided to forgo the hike, but remembered our noontime meal of PB & J, and X-bean salad. Having nearly depleted the salad, we had added an extra can of black beans and some steamed vegetables to the mix, two days earlier. Sadly, the vinegar portion of the solution has become so diluted, that, by now, the salad had “turned a corner“, and we settled for sandwiches and mapled walnuts. Post-lunch, we proceeded onward, stopping at “Round Pond Rips” to wait out a heavy shower. The weather cleared and we meandered to the “Five Finger“ cluster of campsites, the first two occupied, pleased to arrive at the supreme northerly site. Day 6: We were on the water early, anticipating the lengthy delay at Allagash Falls. We had been advised to stop at the ranger station at Michaud Farm, and we did, signed the ledger, and continued on. Much of the river seemed to be about 1 foot deep at 1650 CFS, and a choice of river right, left, or middle was a roll of the dice. Although we felt we had become proficient at reading the water, it was hard to avoid every scrape, but we were certainly in paddlers’ sync at this point of the journey. The ¼-mile portage around Allagash Falls was a slog, requiring three round trips, and we worried about availability of campsites down river, as there were parties ahead of us. Only by looking at the map, had we determined that “Big Brook East” was the best choice, and we were lucky to locate it, with the help of GAIA, after missing the signage on the first pass. Luckily a slow-flowing section of river allowed backtracking to the site, high up on the bank. A fast-flowing, cascading brook emptied to the river, very near the steep path to the site, and we would later explore a short length of the brook into the forest, looking for brookies, to no avail. A few sentinel black flies emerged at dusk, reminding us why we were determined to be early visitors to this pristine paradise. Day 7: A light sprinkle would be the only precip. we would encounter launching during the entire week on the Waterway, and we made short work (?pleasure) floating the 8 miles of quickwater back to the car, staged at a convenient private residence in Allagash, 108 water miles from the put-in. Filled with a gigantic dose of Nature Therapy, we decided to drive the 7.5 hour route back home, with required stops at (original) Pat’s Pizza in Orono, and (original) Amatos’ in Portland, for resupply! Reflections: Water is plentiful along the entire waterway route, duh! We brought a filter, but didn’t need it, having started with 16 L between us. The re-supply water source at Churchill Dam is recommended. I was glad to have my Kokatat paddling pants with booties, over which I wore NRS paddling shoes. You are apt to be jumping from your boat not infrequently, and secure footwear is highly recommended. I rented a Garmin In-reach mini for the trip duration, allowing me to send nightly, up to 3 preset messages of AOK, north, or south weather forecast to Susie. I would recommend talking with one of the rangers on duty along the waterway if you have questions about adequate river flow along the river, particularly the last 1/3, or feasibility of running Allagash Stream, if that is a consideration. At the time of this post, the Allagash is in its second year of drought. Each drop of 100 cfs represents ~ 1-inch drop in water depth. There are plenty of outfitters that will arrange transport of gear/people/vehicle in all combinations imaginable. Norm L’Italien (https://pelletiers.mainerec.com) has been in the business for decades, and has it figured out. We were able to rent a room with 2 beds at a reasonable price. We opted NOT to drive over sometimes-sketchy logging roads with our vehicles. Consider being on the water by 6am during any of the big-lake portions of your trip, before potential winds pick up. A ready-to-eat breakfast and quick start will have you at your intended site early to enjoy a lengthy afternoon. Allagash River flow: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?01011000 Allagash Wilderness Waterway Map: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/Maps/FullSize/aww-map.pdf Original itinerary, later modified: AWW Itinerary May 11.docx Our personal checklist: Allagash checklist.docx
  3. Skip report, go straight to slideshow. https://photos.app.goo.gl/KwT9coajfVZN6Vhv7 Plans to continue section-paddling the Pemi were put on hold, once N found a likely candidate while browsing the AMC river guide. Bonus features for paddling the beautiful Winooski River in Vermont included having N’s college buddy, C, join us for the long day trip, since he lived within a mile from the takeout, and, joining J, another mate/alum, for pizza after the paddle, when we retrieved the shuttle car back in Montpelier. #1 son N and I drove separate cars, the plan calling for dropping off the canoe (with cable lock) in Montpelier, driving NW to pick up C in Jonesville, car-topping his kayak, then driving back together in my car to the put-in. Despite ambitious plans, including leaving the house at 6:40 AM, we finally got our paddles wet at 10:10. Mid 60s, mostly cloudy, NW at 10, below-average water levels were the ingredients for the day. Routes 2 and I 89 would be our companions (zero other boaters/floaters) for most of this trip, though the high river banks and rippling water would drown out most of the traffic noise. We meandered/scraped our way 6 miles downstream, the first “obstacle” at Cemetery Corner (NOT named for the number of paddler deaths; there is a cemetery beyond the riverbank). A last-second, 1-foot drop through un-scouted challenge #2 surprised us, but didn’t separate us from our boats. At length we arrived at Middlesex Dam for our first portage. Our hero and pack animal for the day would be our dolly, “Llama.” After a climb up a steep muddy path, we settled the canoe atop Llama, and the kayak on top of the canoe, clearly looking like folks “from away.” Llama made short work of the roadside portage. Before launching again, we enjoyed a repast of veggie Italian and roast beef sandwiches from you-know-where. The second, longest (10+ mi.) leg of the trip from Middlesex to Bolton, would carry us through riverside landscapes we had yet experienced. We smartly landed our boats to scout Junkyard rapids. The line would be easy, but well worth the preview, as the chute was not visible behind the obscuring, jutting ledge. IMG_0938.mov We came to the conclusion that the word “gorge-ous" came about while traveling through a river section such as this. We were NOT going to Grandmother’s house, but “over the river and through the woods“ would be the mantra for the portage at Bolton Dam-a rigorous steep, uphill slog, through muddy woods, then downhill, across the picnic area, and finally to the beach, a 2000-foot trek. This would be the answer to the riddle “How do you gain 300 feet of altitude while paddling downriver?“ Downstream, the dam displayed a fairly decorative finish–large brownstone-like facing, similar to what one might see on a decades-old town library or a train station-quite elaborate, but visible to only a few. The third, and final segment of the trip would bring us 6 miles through mostly quickwater, beautiful pastoral scenery, geese and duck families, scattered small and large-grouped humanoids enjoying the river, and fly fisherpeople. We finally got off the river at 1830, loaded up the vehicles, short-visited C’s home and wife, then drove back to Montpelier to join J for delicious pizza from Positive Pie (+π), arriving back home at 10:20. Link to track here Local knowledge here FWIW: flow rate for this trip ~900cfs. Given the amount of new scratches on the canoe, this would be the minimum flow I'd recommend for this paddle The "other" Dolly Llama:
  4. Skip report; go straight to slideshow As the summer fades, so too, do my memories of previous trips to the beautiful Saco River: five decades ago with family and friends, the memorable highlight being the loss of my buddy Ricky‘s bathing suit, him running up the beach trying to cover up his now-public “privates”; a trip with friends in high school that involved a shuttle on my Kawasaki 500; two decades ago with our local Boy Scout Troop, me paddling in the stern, my two boys lazing up front. It was uncharacteristic of me to plan a paddling trip with my son, on only 2 days notice. I typically lay out all my gear on a bedsheet on the garage floor, at least a week before an upcoming trip. Because the weatherwoman had forecast a bluebird sky, crisp fall Saturday, I decided what the heck, we could do this. With not a little cajoling, we cobbled together enough food and gear for an overnight trip on the river. We started our two-hour drive shortly after N got home from work, and arrived early enough (dusk) at the Saco Pines Campground to set up our tent, then hastened to our destination that was the reason for our Friday tenting-Flatbread Pizza in North Conway. We had hoped to be on the water by 8 o’clock on Saturday, but my previous phone call to the office required us to check in at 8:45 for registration. The unforeseen (by me, anyway) SNAFU of the ever-popular Fryeburg fair was disconcerting. Because of the snail-paced traffic along the Fair main drag (route 302), the proprietor at the canoe livery was not willing to have someone drop us off at Walker’s Bridge; instead, we had to shorten the trip by 10 miles, by launching at the more upstream location of “The Landing“. We crept most of the 5 mile, one-hour trip to the Landing, parking-lot hawkers flagging fair goers with enticements of coffee/donuts, fire ring, and porta potty. We quickly loaded the canoe, jumped in, and were finally on the water at 1120. A small party of eight with three canoes were the only people we would see on the river during the next two days. We made good time along the meandering river, averaging 3 kn, assisted by a <2 kn current along this upper portion of the trip. Long sandy beaches were plentiful, and account for the summertime popularity of this section. The depth of the water averaged less than 1 foot on our first day (gage height =2.5’; flow~250 cfs); we scraped bottom only a few times. The trip up to Walker’s bridge was pleasantly uneventful. The fall colors, though not brilliant, were soothingly reflected in the flat water. Upon nearing Walker’s rips, we landed at the infamous skinny dipping beach, to survey potential tent spots. There were many, though the former lean-to of my youth had disappeared. We climbed up the granite bridge trestle to scout out the short rapid, and agreed that either extreme river left or right were the only options, and decided that the near, more active left passage would be more fun. Given the early hour and our respectable paddling pace, we chatted about extending the trip by continuing paddling beyond the pre-planned take-out of Brownfield, to camp a few miles beyond, leaving an approximately 12-mile trip for Sunday. I phoned Saco Bound, and Laura agreed to our request for a pick up in Hiram at 1415 on Sunday. We were quickly back on the water and happy to recover from the disappointing float plan from earlier that morning. We took a 10-minute break to harvest some dried firewood from fallen trees, the 8-foot sections neatly and evenly balanced on the gunnels. We had decided that 6:00 would be the cut-off time for finding a beach-side camp, and within a few miles beyond the Brownfield bridge we landed at a supreme site. N Got busy sawing the firewood, while I prepared the evening repast on a conveniently-placed large stump. We savored the warming meal and fire, hoping to elevate our core temperature to prepare for the cold night ahead. We dropped our knackered heads on the pillow at 9:15 and slept soundly in our cozy tent. Day 1 track My watch thermometer read 28.8 F at 0700 the next morning, and we shook off the frosty flakes from the tent and fly, on the water by 7:40. Within a short time we sited a small group of five deer at the waters edge and sat stock–still as we floated closer. Long stares from the wild animals finally resulted in a single loud snort (Who decides to make that call?) and a quick departure. Of course a photo attempt bombed, the creatures too far away, as was the case the day before, when a single deer crossed the river in front of us. The section of river beyond the Brownfield bridge is a bit deeper, slower, and forested, though no less beautiful, with occasional high sandy banks. There are fewer camping beaches, and many are “posted”. Because of our decent pace (N at the stern with his kayak paddle), we took a few short diversions – one, a clockwise loop around and oxbow that dead-ended, the other a quick duck into a granite-lined culvert (see track, day 2). We arrived at the Hiram take out a few hours before the designated pick up time. We had hoped to find a café serving a warm breakfast; Alas, no such luck in this sleepy hamlet. We toured the cemetery, searching for the top three unique names; Thankful, Freedom, and Ephraim were the winners. Dan arrived early and shuttled us back to our car. We loaded, then made haste for Flatbread again, relieved that we had not filled up at an imaginary café! Day 2 track
  5. until
    A little surprised to see canoes on what is predominantly a sea kayaking club message board? Three years ago I would have been too. After all I was a first joiner when Bob Burnett got NSPN started, the first VP of the organization, etc. Paddled a Romany Explorer back in the day when both words were in the name and currently paddle a Current Design Prana. But for going on three years now I'm also paddling a Mad River Malecite tandem and a Northstar Trillium solo canoe and frankly loving it. Both types have something unique about them and both also have a lot of overlap (particularly if you're a high angle paddler). So if you've ever wondered why anyone would paddle with a single blade, want something that might be a little easier to move around on the smaller inland waterways, or just curious about canoes, you might want to read on...after all, the name North Shore Paddlers Network was chosen for a reason. “Jumpstart into Canoeing” - Session 1 Canoes, Paddles and Places - an Introduction for the Curious Curious about canoes? Trying to find a boat you can solo or maybe one to take the family (kids and critters) or a friend paddling, fishing or camping? Or maybe one boat that can do both? Thinking about buying or just bought a canoe and have questions? Or just plan curious about canoes? Then join us at the free Canoes, Paddles and Places session on May 5 This first of three free sessions hosted by Newbury Kayak and Canoe is intended to answer these questions and more, and provide you with a jumpstart into canoeing You’ll hear, see and get answers to your questions about: Why a canoe - A quick overview of the legacy and amazing versatility of the canoe Gearing Up - How to select a canoe, paddles, and basic gear Starting Out - Paddling basics, the “rule of the thumb”, trimming the boat Heading Out - Places to paddle, folks to paddle with, where to get more info When and where: Sunday, May 5, 10am to noon. Newbury Kayak and Canoe, 291 High Road, Newbury, MA 01950 To register or get more info: Use the RSVP button above OR Go to https://www.newburykayak.com/contact-us and fill in the “Contact Us” form. Put the word “register” in the first line of the “Message” block, include a contact number in case of a last minute change and let us know how many folks you’re bringing. To ask a question - put the word “question” in the first line, or call us at 978-465-0312
  6. Another late post from Sept 2018. Looking to generate enthusiasm for more multi-day trips in 2019. Canoe or Kayak its all good. This was a 5 night trip threading about 44 miles flat water. For those unfamiliar, BWAC is a huge expanse of lakes covering thousands of square miles in the Superior National Forest. It is part of the same geography as Quetico on the Canadian side which is even larger. With a few exceptions most of these lakes are for paddle craft only, you can't even hoist a sail. Overall this was a wonderful experience and I have an renewed interest similar areas such as Quetico, French River, Algonquin, and Killarney. If you choose to enter the BWCA be ready for primitive camping and you will need some navigation sense. Be certain talk to outfitters and plan accordingly because once your out there you are really on your own. For example we saw many paddlers in the lakes near entry points, but once we penetrated 2 portages inward, we saw nobody. We took up 2 campsites during our paddles and touched 7 or more lakes. For meals we packed provisions and also caught walleye. Several of these days included strenuous portages due to the load which included 3 Duluth packs and the Kevlar canoe.... about 140 pounds of gear (a micro-light load for 2 men for 6 days). My brother and I encountered significant winds on the several days which caused us to hug one shore or the other. By the third evening all was still and the lakes turned to glass. We did have rain on two mornings which we used as an excuse to sleep until we got hungry. We didn't' see any moose during the 6 days but water fowl, bald eagles, and hungry little critters are every where. We even had a mink come by and take a fish right in front of us. My brother saw a wolf on the last day. https://flic.kr/s/aHsmrZyivE
  7. I failed to post my paddle excursion to Allagash ME in Aug 2018. Looking to generate enthusiasm for more multi-day trips in 2019. Canoe or Kayak its all good. This was a 3 night trip covering about 45 miles of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW). This was a low-skill paddle which almost anyone could complete if you scale your miles to match your fitness. This time of year the rapids were warm, shallow and short and it was easy to stay out of trouble, and since you're basically a bead on a string, you really can't get lost. Also the forest rangers monitor your progress which is good but occasionally this detracts from the wilderness feel. Due to low water below the falls the outfitter had proposed an upstream drop with a recovery at Michaud Farms. We also considered starting nearer Chase Rapids, but neither of us had been in whitewater recently (or paddled together) and we didn't want to dump in the first quarter mile. We chose to deal with the shallows and establish the St John as the exit, so our hosts dropped us on Umsaskis Lake near the road crossing. We explored the still water of Umsaskis for a couple of hours before aiming down stream. Umsaskis Lake, Long Lake, and Harvey comprise about 8 miles of flat water before the Long Lake Dam where you portage into moving water. We camped at Sweeny Brook about about 2 miles below LLD. Total of about 12 miles which included a few exploratory detours. We saw two moose that day, the first standing mid-stream at the camp. We paddled up on a Lynx just before lunch near the Hosea B campsite on the second day and then proceeded into Round Pond. Round Pond is a large and beautiful body of water and it would be a great place to spend a few nights. We ended up camping at Cunliffe Depot which was quit far beyond our goal because the original target(s) was occupied. It was about a 20 mile day but we had moving water much of that time. The third night was just past Allagash Falls at Big Brook South after a short 8 mile day. We did the standard 3 pass portage around the drop...there was really no hurry...and we enjoyed exploring the moonscape just below. In the morning we saw a cow and her calf until they spotted us and splash-off into the woods. The last part of the float included some wading due to low water which we had expected. In most cases the canoe floated-over once we stepped out of the boat. https://www.flickr.com/gp/rrb-precat/3V233B https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/PDF_GUIDE/aww-guide.pdf
  8. Newbury Kayak and Canoe, in conjunction with Lincoln Canoe and Kayak of Amesbury, is hosting our first Boat Swap! Participants can register early by going to newburykayak.com and download the registration form. All items must be in good shape and safe for use. Only kayaks, canoes, SUP and gear will be accepted. Drop off is at 9:00 on October 8th, please let us know if you need any special assistance by calling 978-465-0312 This event is Oct 8 - 10, from 10:00 - 5:00
  9. Newbury Kayak and Canoe is partnering with Lincoln Canoe and Kayak to become their official local showroom. To celebrate we're having a party this weekend running from Friday to Sunday (December 11 to 13). In stock Lincoln boats will be 25% off, special order Lincolns 15% off and all accessories 20% off. Marc Bourgoin will be giving a presentation on boat construction Friday at 5:00 and one on boat selection Saturday at 2:00. There will be snacks and Zumi's coffee, so come on by!
  11. All kayaks, canoes and SUP's currently on sale with savings up to 20% off. Ten percent off accessories and free t-shirt with the purchase of any water craft. Sale runs until October 1st and new winter lines will arrive soon. Our remodel is scheduled for November, stop by for a visit. we would love to chat.
  12. Newbury Kayak and Canoe is hosting our first demo day on June 8th from 12 - 2 (time extension as needed). This will be sponsored by Confluence and so you can try boats from Perception, Wilderness House, Dagger, Mad River. See you there! Sandy Gilbert
  13. Newbury Kayak and Canoe, formerly Fernald's, on the Parker River is under new ownership and ready to help with your paddling needs. We carry Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger and Current Design kayaks. Our canoe line includes models from Grumman and Mad River Canoe. We are also very excited to offer SUP from Boardworks, SpeedboardUSA and Riviera. Naturally, we have all the needed accessories too. Our future plans include offering rentals and eventually instruction at the waterfront. Please check us out at www.newburykayak.com I invite everyone to stop by and visit. I hope to be able to offer the location for meetings and presentations once we get settled in. Regards, Sandy Gilbert 978-465-0312
  14. Kayak, stand up paddle board and canoe demo day Sunday May 18th, 10am to 4pm Location: Contoocook River Canoe Co. 9 Horse Hill Road Concord, NH 03303 603-753-9804 www.contoocookcanoe.com Sales on all boats, boards and accessories Kayaks by: Valley, P and H, Lincoln, Eddyline, Current Design, Wilderness Systems, Old Town, Hurricane, Perception, Dagger, Venture, Feelfree and ocean Stand Up Paddle Boards by: Pau Hana, BiC, Surftech, Boardworks and Riviera Canoes By: Wenonah, Old Town and Mad River
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